The 2015 UK Election: Parties, Politics, and the Future of the UK

Terri Bimes
August 4, 2015

The Conservatives led by David Cameron won an unexpected victory in the May 2015 UK Elections, clinching a majority of parliamentary seats and leaving many pundits eating crow. On September 2nd, the Anglo-American Studies Program at IGS, the Center for British Studies (UC Berkeley) and the British Politics Group (American Political Science Association) will host a one-day conference examining the 2015 election and its outcomes, looking at the role of candidates, issues, and the electoral laws. In particular, the conference invites discussion about the implications of the upsurge in minor party voting, the success of Scottish nationalism, and the challenges facing the Conservative government for the future of the UK's political system and the country's place in Europe. 

There will also be a lunchtime panel examining what went wrong with the polls, featuring Jane Green and Jon Mellon from the British Election Study, Doug Rivers from YouGov, and Jon Cohen from Survey Monkey. Jon Cohen and Survey Monkey came the closest to predicting the UK election, forecasting a Conservative Party victory. Panelists will look at some of the difficulties in polling in the UK and compare them to challenges faced in the US. 

Throughout this conference, we hope to draw out a discussion of the impact of the 2015 elections for the future of the UK.  While Prime Minister Cameron managed to survive reelection, there are several challenges lurking on the horizon for the UK. The first is the European Union. David Cameron vowed to hold an in/out referendum on the UK’s membership in the EU by 2017 (but possibly sooner) if elected. The second major challenge is continued Scottish nationalism. What clues does the 2015 election hold on the prospects of the UK becoming "Little England"?   

We hope you can join us for a lively discussion of the 2015 UK Election and the future of the UK on September 2nd. This event is free and open to the public. Registration is now open